Premium Bottled Waters Flood the Market

Originally published in

CHICAGO -- As the reigning champion of beverage-category growth, bottled water is the darling of the cold vault. And within it, sparkling, flavored and enhanced waters are the true stars.

In convenience stores, bottled water accounted for about 11% of all packaged-beverage sales in 2017, according to preliminary numbers from NACS’ State of the Industry Report of 2017 Data. C-stores’ bottled-water sales volume grew about 3% in 2017, while sales of premium water grew 10%, according to Nielsen.

As a result, the premium segment of the category has become the go-to area for innovation by beverage makers both old and new.

“On a pure growth basis, sparkling water is the fastest-growing segment, though off a small base,” said Gary Hemphill, managing director of research for Beverage Marketing Corp., New York. “Companies are using water as a springboard for innovation.”

All of the growth in the segment, however, is coming on the nonsweetened side, says Anthony Pitagora, senior manager of category and shopper solutions for Nestle Waters North America.

“There’s a big difference in trends for sweetened vs. unsweetened,” he says. Citing Nielsen data, Pitagora says sales of unsweetened sparkling water grew 30% in 2017, while sweetened waters declined 30%. “It’s not just the bubbles; it’s that migration of the diet soft-drink drinker looking for something healthier.”

Click here for a look at the variety of new premium waters flooding the market ...


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